Assess the compliance with single areas
If you feel your supermarket is not limiting exposure and promotion of alcohol to a single area(s) then use this checklist to assess compliance.
Also record this in an incident log, provided below. Forward any concerns to your local Council Liquor Licensing Inspector.
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 introduced restrictions on where supermarket and groceries stores can display and promote alcohol. This is now confined to a “single area” within the store. Promotions must not be seen or heard outside of this area or from outside of the store.
Click here to read the legislation relating to single areas for supermarkets.
A single area must be configured and arranged so that it is NOT:
- in the most direct pedestrian route between any entrance to the premises and the main body of the premises passes; or
- in the most direct pedestrian route between the main body of the premises and any general point of sale.
Sometimes the single area is divided into 2 or 3 sub-areas. In this case one sub area must be designated as the core area and one area as the secondary area (or if a third, one as the overflow area). You can talk to your local licensing inspector to learn more.
While this law was implemented in 2013 there are still some supermarket/grocery stores who have not yet completed their transition to single areas. This could be related to the timing of their licence renewal or because the describing of their single area is contested and still to be determined.
In 1989, wine and mead became available for sale from grocery stores and supermarkets. This was followed in 1999 with beer. The sale of spirits is not permitted.
The introduction of wine sales into New Zealand supermarkets increased the affordability and consumption of wine markedly. New Zealanders are now drinking twice as much wine as they used to.
There are two major supermarket chains in New Zealand: Progressive Enterprises and Foodstuffs.
Alcohol is the biggest selling caterory in the supermarket. Many New Zealanders buy their alcohol from supermarkets.
On average, the same alcohol product is sold more cheaply from supermarkets than bottle stores.
The number of supermarkets and grocery stores in New Zealand communities has been linked with a range of alcohol-related harms: antisocial behaviour, dishonesty offences, property abuses, property damage, sexual offences and violent offences.
The placement of alcohol in everyday settings, next to commonly purchased products, may normalise alcohol use in our society. Especially among children. New Zealand children are regularly exposed to alcohol in supermarkets.
Tobacco can't be displayed in supermarkets, but alcohol can. Yet alcohol is the most harmful drug in our society.
New Zealand laws on alcohol promotions (including discounting)
New Zealand law restricts the promotion and/or advertising of alcohol that:
- encourages excessive consumption
- advertises or promotes discounts of 25% or more
This means that it is only against the law to advertise and promote a discount - it is not against the law to have a discount of 25% or more.
This law applies to anyone undertaking a business including on-licences, off-licences, club licences and special licences and to any promotions run by a person or company which is not licensed.
Section 237 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act is called Irresponsible promotion of alcohol. This section prohibits:
- Any person that encourages people, or is likely to encourage people, to consume alcohol to an excessive extent, whether on licensed premises or at any other place
- Any person to promote or advertise a discounted alcohol product that leads people to believe the price is 25% or more below the normal price of the product (other than in a licensed premises or in an off-licence catalogue)
- On-licensed premises to promote or advertise discounted alcohol that leads people to believe the price is 25% or more below the normal price of the product AND can be seen or heard from outside the premises
- Promotions or advertisements of alcohol that is free of charge (does not include free sampling)
- Offers goods and services or the opportunity to win a prize on the condition that alcohol is bought
- Promotions which are in a manner aimed at, or that has, or is likely to have, special appeal to minors
Although off-licence catalogues are excluded from the section, other media is included – such as billboards, window displays, etc.
The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 also includes restrictions on where supermarket and groceries stores can display and promote alcohol. This is now confined to a “single area” within the store. Promotions must not be seen or heard outside of this area or from outside of the store. For more information on single areas in supermarkets, please click here.
- Section 237 – Irresponsible promotion of alcohol
- Promotion of alcohol in on-licences
- Promotion of alcohol in off-licences
Promotion of discounted alcohol beverages
In New Zealand, around 78% of beer and wine purchased at off-licences is sold on promotion.1 This usually means that the product has been reduced in retail price.
The impact of restricting the discounting of alcohol products has been studied.2 Results in the UK showed that total consumption would fall:
- by 2.8% if a total ban of price discounting was implemented
- by 1.6% if a ban on price discounting to no greater than 10% was implemented
- by 0.8% if a ban on price discounting to no greater than 20% was implemented
- by 0.3% if a ban on price discounting to no greater than 30% was implemented
The study found that restrictions affected wine consumption the most – banning discounts greater than 10% would reduce wine consumption by 11.2%.
According to an Australia study,3 young people are very aware of in-store sale promotions in order to maximise their alcohol purchases within their budgets. Cheap alcohol also facilitates social get-togethers that would not have occurred otherwise.
The following quote from the study is a good example of the effects of alcohol discounts:
“So you buy like maybe a carton or something. But then if there's two cartons or the second one is half price, you wouldn’t probably then save it for another night, you'd just yeah kinda get more people in. It changes the way you kinda approach the night (P38, M, 18, Risky drinker, Focus Group).”
Take action on the low price of alcohol
- Share any information on prices and promotions you have gathered with others through our Facebook Group. It could be useful in planning for advocacy efforts at the national level - please check out the section on advocacy for more information.
- Take opportunities to raise awareness of the effectiveness of pricing strategies with local decision makers and influencers. For tips and assistance, please check out the section on advocacy for more information.
- Raise the issue in the media through a letter to the editor or offering an opinion piece – for more tips and assistance, please check out the section on engaging with mainstream media or connect with community champions.
- To assist you, read more information on ALCOHOL EXCISES TAXES MINIMUM UNIT PRICING
Submission template - price measures on alcohol
Join or support other advocacy efforts towards the implementation of more effective price controls, please check out the section on Mobilising Others for more ideas.
- Include price issues on any submissions on draft legislation (i.e. Bills) which relate to alcohol. We will develop a submission template on price measures when opportunities arise.
The price of alcohol
- Cheap and discounted alcohol increases the demand for alcohol and encourages heavier drinking.
- The introduction of alcohol (beer, wine and mead) into supermarkets (wine in 1989 and beer in 1999) had a considerable impact on lowering the price of alcohol. The price of any particular beer or wine is generally found to be cheaper in supermarkets than bottle stores.
- The introduction of ready-to-drinks (RTDs or alcopops) also had a considerable impact on drinking, particularly on young people. They are relatively cheap and attractive to young people.
- Increasing the retail price of alcohol is one of the most effective strategies to reduce accessibility and alcohol-related harm. It can be achieved in a number of ways including; increasing excise tax, introducing Minimum Unit Pricing, restricting the promotion of discounted alcohol.
The low price of alcohol is a key driver in our drinking culture.
Alcohol is now more affordable than it has ever been. Wine has particularly become more affordable. This means that it now takes us less time to earn enough money to buy a standard drink.
In New Zealand, off-licences are now selling approximately 75% of all alcohol. Supermarkets are big players in the retail market.
Having many outlets in a community results in competition, which drives prices down.
Increasing the price of alcohol is one of the strongest tools in our kete / basket to reduce harm. A large body of high-quality research suggests that a 10% increase in price reduces overall alcohol consumption by 5%. In fact, it is the most important strategy.
Restricting alcohol advertisng and sponsorship is one of three 'best buys' evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol harm endorsed by the World Health Organisation. There is strong public support for restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship in New Zealand in the same way as is tobacco advertising and sponsorship is restricted. Product labelling is important for branding and marketing of alcoholic beverages, but also provides a key platform for including information about risks associated with drinking, particularly the risks of drinking during pregnancy. Research shows graphic pictorial health warnings are more effective than text warnings.